Have you ever tried vegan cheese or at least wondered how it’s made? We have introduced an optional vegan cheese course at Tredwells’ Planted Supper Clubs using the incredible produce supplied by Silver Moon Foods. We catch up with Ket Majmudar to find out more about this wonderful plant-based alternative and the rise of plant-based eating.
How did Silver Moon Foods come to be?
Having started my own ethical web development business in 1999, I worked with the vegan society for a few years improving their internal computer and web based infrastructures. I then helped run Ethical Junction, an ethical business network, for a couple of years before branching into mobile app development. Recently I started spending more time cooking and exploring a new wave of vegan recipes. Over the years being vegan, I have experienced a wide variety of vegan restaurants and products both locally and globally. I recognised a lack of vegan artisan cheese products in the UK and decided to launch Silver Moon to coincide with Reading Vegan Festival in 2017.
Tell us a bit about what goes into vegan cheese
There are usually two types of vegan cheese, an instant/cooked type and a cultured cheese. Usually the instant type often uses a plant milk base or a simple nut blend which is favoured. Vegan cheeses often use thickeners and gums to create texture. The cultured types of cheese are usually nut based and often require a culturing agent to transform the cheese giving it a sharper flavour, similar to traditional cheese making processes, ageing can then be undertaken to develop the cheese. This is a very simple explanation to quite an involved and time consuming, yet worthwhile process!
Have you seen a big change in the interest in veganism in the last 5 years?
I have been vegan for 23 years and some times the food options when we are eating out have been very limited. The past 5 years have shown a massive growth in diversity and acceptance of vegansim. It is wonderful as a long term vegan to see these shifts happening. The UK is embracing veganism. Vegan options are becoming mainstream and there are many vegan festivals and new vegan businesses.
What advice would you give to someone trying out veganuary this month?
Explore the vegan food scene, contact restaurants and food markets and look for vegan labels while out shopping. There is pretty much an alternative for any kind of recipe you might want to make. Ask for advice on social media, you will get lots of support. There are lots of vegan recipes online. You can always reach out for help from The Vegan Society (UK) if you get stuck, they are always there to help and have tons of resources available.
What are some of your favourite vegan cheese dishes and how easy is it to cook with vegan cheese?
I really love lasagne and pasta so cheese sauces and chucks of cheese mixed into a steaming hot bowl of pasta are creamy and tasty. When I am relaxing, some soft vegan cheese, crackers, grapes and a nice full bodied glass of red wine is a nice treat. You can cook pretty much like you do with normal cheese, but the texture can be a little different, based on what style of vegan cheese you are using. Not all vegan cheeses melt, but some do and produce wonderful results on pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches.
What lies in store for Silver Moon Foods in 2018?
It seems quite a lot and we are looking forward to seeing how the year unfolds! Our market dates and christmas pre-orders were very popular in 2017, so we aim to build infrastructure to allow us to scale up. We would like to be able to ship our cheese in the UK to meet the demand. We are experimenting with new and traditional techniques using a range of nuts and seeds to create new styles of vegan cheeses.
Find out more about our Planted Supper Clubs here.